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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 30, 2010

Communal garden taking root

By Coco Zickos
The Garden Island

KEKAHA, Kaua'i Sprouting up in Kekaha this summer is a new community garden at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, which intends to provide healthy, organic food for a fraction of its store-bought cost to members, said Diane Rosenkranz, who is leading the effort.

"We don't even have a grocery store" in Kekaha and residents "hardly have any organic options," she said. Driving "halfway around the island" for decent grub is a waste of money and gasoline, which is one of many reasons a task force was formed last year to bring the Kekaha Community Garden to fruition.

Located on about 6,500 square feet of land donated by St. Paul's on the Westside, the communal garden where members pitch in together for a short period of time each week will be able to feed some 40 people, she said.

Encouraged by what she called a "creative, constructive grassroots response" to one of the challenges facing Kaua'i today is former mayor and councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura, who attended the garden's blessing ceremony Saturday.

There is an immediate need to grow our own food, she said in an e-mail.

An estimated 90 percent of Kaua'i's food travels 5,000 to 10,000 miles and is "harvested well before it is ripe and therefore is sorely lacking nutrition and vitality," Rosenkranz said.

In addition, kama'āina pay a premium for imported foods to support the high and volatile cost of oil to ship it, she said. Approximately 15 percent of an individual's budget is spent on food, which is about three to four times higher than our Mainland counterparts, she said.

Low membership fees prices have not been determined will allow participants inexpensive access to locally grown foods such as eggplants, tomatoes, basil and papayas, Rosenkranz said.

The garden will not only provide healthier food options, it will create a gathering place for the community and bring people together, said St. Paul's Pastor Mary Lindquist.